Alabama Paralegal Career and Salary Guide
This guide to Alabama paralegal careers is designed to help those interested in the legal field learn how to become paralegals and compete in the paralegal job market in Alabama. On this page, you will find information about the steps to becoming a paralegal in Alabama and paralegal salary, along with occupational projections and helpful resources to help you launch your paralegal career. Get started on your career journey using the directory below.
Table of Contents
- How to Become a Paralegal in Alabama
- Paralegal Certification
- Paralegal Career and Salary Outlook
- Paralegal Resources
How to Become a Paralegal in Alabama
Like most other states, there are no required certifications for paralegals in Alabama, who are also referred to as legal assistants in the state. Therefore, paralegals working in Alabama enter the profession from a variety of backgrounds. Formal paralegal education, such as a degree or certificate in paralegal studies, voluntary national certification, and work or internship experience can help aspiring paralegals when they enter the job market. You can also learn more about national certification with our guide Steps to Become a Paralegal.
1. Earn a degree or certificate in paralegal studies.
There are many paralegal schools in Alabama that offer an associate’s degree or certificate in paralegal studies. These programs provide entry-level knowledge and skills training to help new paralegals gain confidence before entering the job market. The American Bar Association (ABA) has approved seven paralegal schools in Alabama that offer programs in paralegal studies.1
2. Gain experience.
Externships, internships, and job shadowing experiences are excellent career development and networking tools for prospective paralegals and may give candidates an edge in the competition for Alabama paralegal jobs. These resources may be offered as part of a paralegal education program or directly through organizations that employ paralegals. Work experience programs can be an especially useful starting point for recent, job-seeking graduates to build professional networks.
3. Seek certification, if desired.
Although it is not required in the state, paralegals may pursue voluntary certification through a national association. This extra step can help strengthen your job application and help you find out about new job opportunities. You can read more about certification below.
Paralegal Certification in Alabama
State law does not require Alabama paralegal certification to work as a paralegal or legal assistant. As per Alabama state law, paralegals and lawyers employing paralegals must ensure they do not give false impressions to clients or the public of the paralegal’s nonlawyer status, which includes clearly noting the paralegal’s job title as a “legal assistant” on company business cards. For those interested in voluntary certification, the National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA, the Paralegal Association), the National Federation of Paralegal Associations (NFPA), and the American Alliance of Paralegals, Inc. (AAPI) offer nationally respected voluntary paralegal certification programs for individuals with a paralegal studies degree or certificate. For further information on voluntary certification opportunities, see our guide to becoming a paralegal.
Alabama Paralegal Career and Salary Outlook
Law firms remain the primary source of paralegal jobs in Alabama, though corporate legal departments and government agencies may also require paralegal services at a smaller scale. Large firms may provide opportunities for paralegals interested in exploring many different aspects of law within the same firm. With offices in Birmingham and Huntsville, Bradley Arant Boult Cummings LLP is a large national firm in Alabama practicing in over 30 different areas of legal counsel. For those seeking greater specialization, Birmingham-based Lightfoot, Franklin & White LLC is a dedicated business and defense litigation firm. Areas of practice in this firm include antitrust matters, environmental claims, medical malpractice, and personal injury law. Also in Birmingham, WhatleyKallas specializes in large and complex cases in subjects such as healthcare, mass torts, and employment disputes. The nature of the cases these firms handle often requires a large legal team, providing opportunities for paralegal jobs in Alabama.
Other positions may be available at smaller firms in Alabama and can be a good fit for recently graduated paralegals. Corporate legal departments at companies such as Vulcan Materials Company and ProAssurance Corporation provide different work experiences and environments and may be good sources for paralegal jobs in Alabama. LinkedIn is a good research resource where you can search on geography (Alabama or city-level) for “paralegal” to find networking opportunities and also companies most associated with users identifying as paralegals; companies in Alabama with the most LinkedIn users as paralegals include:
- Bradley Arant Boult Cummings LLP
- Burr & Forman LLP
- Carr Allison
- Dentons Sirote
- Maynard Cooper & Gale
- Regions Bank
- US Army
For more information about paralegal careers, take a look at our careers page.
Alabama Paralegal Salary Information
Projected Job Growth
Paralegals in Alabama from 2018-20282
In May 2020, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported 4,130 paralegals and legal assistants employed in Alabama.3 In the same reporting period, the average paralegal salary in Alabama was reported at $49,150.3 Though this is lower than the national average paralegal salary of $56,610, it should be taken into account that the cost of living in Alabama trends lower than national averages.3 In addition, more competitive salary offers can typically be found in urban areas. For example, the average paralegal salary in the Mobile metro area is $55,670.4
Compared to the projected 12% growth in employment for paralegals and legal assistants nationwide from 2018 to 2028, Alabama is projected to see slightly higher growth at 13.1% during the same period, according to Projections Central.2 This could result in an average of 390 job openings across the state annually.2 Candidates with paralegal education, voluntary certification, and work experience may be more competitive for new openings and may command a higher salary. Estimates are based on national data, not school-specific information; data accessed in November 2021.
Alabama Paralegal Salary by Metro Area
|Metro Area||Number Employed4||Average Annual Salary4|
Paralegal Associations in Alabama
These are volunteer organizations, typically with elected boards, that focus on professional development and networking for a specific geography and/or area of law.
- Alabama Association of Paralegals (AAPi): Holds three annual seminars that focus on continuing education and professional development in addition to regular meetings and training events.
- Alabama State Bar (ASB): Supports legal professionals in Alabama and maintains a jobs board that frequently includes Alabama paralegal jobs from across the state.
- Alabama Career Interview: Daniel Burnick: Read c advice from Alabama Employment Lawyer Daniel Burnick.
- Alabama Judicial System: Provides access to e-filing systems for appellate and trial courts; court calendars; court rules and mediation information; and more.
- Paralegal411 Jobs Board: For paralegal jobs in Alabama, check out our jobs board.
- Samford University Lucille Stewart Beeson Law Library: Maintains a collection of legal resources, including shelved volumes and electronic databases, available to legal professionals with proper identification..
- University of Alabama Bounds Law Library: Houses over 550,000 print volumes available to legal professionals and the general public for performing legal research.
1. American Bar Association Directory of ABA Approved Paralegal Education Programs: https://www.americanbar.org/groups/paralegals/paralegal-resource-directory/
2. Projections Central Long Term Occupational Projections: https://projectionscentral.org/Projections/LongTerm
3. Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2020 Occupational Employment and Wages, Paralegals and Legal Assistants: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes232011.htm
4. Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2020 Metropolitan and Nonmetropolitan Area Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oessrcma.htm